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Slumping New York City FC settles for tie

Philadelphia Union defender Sheanon Williams and New York

Philadelphia Union defender Sheanon Williams and New York City FC midfielder Ned Grabavoy are separated from their argument by Philadelphia Union goalkeeper John McCarthy in a game at Yankee Stadium on Thursday, April 16, 2015. Credit: Steven Ryan

If he hadn't become ill prior to kickoff, New York City FC coach Jason Kreis would have felt sick by the end of Thursday night's game against the Philadelphia Union.

For the second time in six days against the Union, NYC FC (1-2-3) surrendered a late goal and squandered precious points as it walked out of Yankee Stadium with a 1-1 draw and only one point.

C.J. Sapong scored from close range to equalize in the 86th minute, negating a goal by NYC FC midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy.

On Saturday, NYC FC allowed Philly to score in second-half stoppage time and watched a potential tie turn into a road loss. This time it was a tough draw before a crowd of 20,461 as the expansion team's winless streak was extended to four games (0-2-2).

"We're home. Letting that goal in was unacceptable,'' said rookie midfielder Khiry Shelton, who set up Ballouchy's goal. "We need to be better than that.''

"It's disappointing to get a point out of the game,'' Ballouchy said. "We played much better.''

Kreis, who was unavailable for comment, watched the game from a sky box. There were no immediate details of his ailment. Assistant coach Miles Joseph directed the team on the sidelines.

NYC FC faced enough adversity, playing without midfielder Mix Diskerud, who performed for the U.S. national team Wednesday night in its 2-0 win over Mexico in San Antonio. It got worse at halftime when star striker David Villa was forced from the game with a hamstring injury. A club spokesman said the injury wasn't serious and that the Spanish international could be available for Sunday's home game against the Portland Timbers.

Hard work paid off in the 57th minute for Ballouchy, who beat goalkeeper John McCarthy from 16 yards with a left-footed shot into the far left corner.

Ballouchy celebrated by taking off his shirt and received a yellow card. You could not have blamed him for being so ecstatic. It was his first goal since he scored in the Red Bulls' 5-2 win over Montreal on March 31, 2012. He had been hampered by two ACL operations since then.

"It's tough when you look at it that way,'' Ballouchy said. "I'm happy that I scored. It's been a while, but at the same time I'm disappointed to end up tying this game. We should have won.''


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